Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Oxford University Press!


Style, Mediation, and Change

Edited by Janus Mortensen, Nikolas Coupland, and Jacob Thogersen

Style, Mediation, and Change "Offers a coherent view of style as a unifying concept for the sociolinguistics of talking media."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Intonation and Prosodic Structure

By Caroline Féry

Intonation and Prosodic Structure "provides a state-of-the-art survey of intonation and prosodic structure."

The LINGUIST List is dedicated to providing information on language and language analysis, and to providing the discipline of linguistics with the infrastructure necessary to function in the digital world. LINGUIST is a free resource, run by linguistics students and faculty, and supported by your donations. Please support LINGUIST List during the 2017 Fund Drive.

Review of  Frae Ither Tongues

Reviewer: Dave W. H. Cochran
Book Title: Frae Ither Tongues
Book Author: Bill Findlay
Publisher: Multilingual Matters
Linguistic Field(s): Translation
Issue Number: 16.1333

Discuss this Review
Help on Posting

Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 05:13:05 +0100
From: Dave Cochran
Subject: Frae Ither Tongues: Essays on Modern Translation into Scots

EDITOR: Findlay, Bill
TITLE: Frae Ither Tongues
SUBTITLE: Essays on Modern Translation into Scots
SERIES: Topics in Translation
PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters
YEAR: 2004

Dave Cochran, Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Edinburgh


_Frae Ither Tongues_ comprises twelve essays on Scots translations of
prose, verse and especially drama first published or performed in the
latter part of the twentieth century, and is intended to be of interest
both to specialists in Translation Studies and general readers with an
interest Scottish culture, literature and language. Following Findlay's
own introduction, comprising an outline sketch of the literary-historical
context for the translations and period at hand and a short conspectus of
the following contributions, the essays are organised in two parts, the
first consisting of commentaries on the act of translation by translators
themselves, the second of essays by third party critics.

In Chapter One, Brian Holton offers a personal view of the (still ongoing)
task of translating the Mediaeval Chinese novel _Shuihu Zhuan_ [The Water
Margin] (Chen, Hou and Lu 1981), into Scots, as _Men o the Mossflow_
(Holton 1981, 1982,1984, 1986, 1987, 1993). Holton describes the personal
factors that contributed to his choice of text and target language, not to
mention just what _sort_ of Scots he wanted to write. Though celebrated in
China, _Shuihu Zhuan_ is obscure to western readers, and so Holton obliges
us with a fascinating account of its history as a radical and oft-banned
outlaw novel, before going into the nitty-gritty of his drawing upon,
reinventing and on occasion, making-up, of the lexical resources of Scots
in order to meet those of the original text, including such challenges as
legal and theological jargon, puns, titles of ranks and "swearie-words".
The chapter concludes with a very helpful section of advice on "How To Do
It Yourself" for anyone else wishing to take up the challenge of
translating into Scots.

Chapter Two, William Neill's contribution, describes his translation of
excerpts from Homer's _Odyssey_ (Neill 1992) as accessing the rich
tradition of Scots balladry and folktales as a key to bringing back to
life the orality of Homer, and to "nativising" the tales themselves, by
drawing on a multitude of narrative themes and structures common to both.
Neill addresses the thorny issue of translating metre, where the exemplar
is a text in a classical language in which free word order, absent in the
Germanic target language, allows for much shuffling around of words in
order to fit a highly rigid metre. He also locates his work, and many of
his specific lexical choices, in a tradition of Scottish Classicism,
referring in particular to John MacLean's Gaelic _Odusseia Homair_
(MacGilleathain 1976) and Robert Garrioch's rendering of a segment of
Hesiod (II 503-553, as "Anatomy of Winter" in Garioch 1973, p42-3), and
shows that in many cases, the lexical resources of Scots offer a more
vivid, immediate, and on occasion more accurate rendering of the Greek
than earlier English translations.

Stuart Hood gives an account of his Scots rendering of Dario Fo's _Mistero
Buffo_ (Fo 1974, Hood's translation is unpublished except for the short
segment in Fo 1988, p. 120-2) in Chapter Three, an interesting text to be
translated into Scots, as the original was also written in the tongue of
the "fishermen, smugglers and peasants" of the Lago Maggiore area, on the
Swiss border, rather than standard Italian. Hood mostly devotes his
attention to the factors guiding his choice of dialect, register and
orthography in Scots, and how these choices had been to a considerable
extent guided by Fo's decisions when faced with the same choices when
writing the original.

In the fourth chapter, the last of the "Translators on Translating"
contributions, Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay discuss the translation of
register in relation to their long collaboration translating several works
of the Québécois playwright, Michel Tremblay, focusing on four plays, "Les
Belles-Soeurs/The Guid Sisters" (Tremblay 1988, 1993), "Encore une fois,
si vous permettez/If only" (Tremblay 1998, unpublished translation) "La
Maison Suspendue/The House Among the Stars" (Tremblay 1990, unpublished
translation) and "Messe solemnelle pour une pleine lune d'été/Solemn Mass
for a Full Moon in Summer" (Tremblay 1996, 2000). Tremblay's plays make
extensive use, to varying purpose, of contrasts of register and variety
between forms of (Canadian) Standard French and an urban, working class
vernacular, "joual" or "montréalais", which, the authors point out, like
Scots in Scotland, is treated with scorn by those with a vested interest
in the hegemony of the standard language, but to others is iconic of
cultural identity and separatist aspirations. Thus, they show that the
translator of Tremblay _must_ have access to multiple target varieties
that allow the same contrasts and switches of register employed by
Tremblay, and that the continuum between Braid [broad] Scots and Scottish
Standard English has proven particularly fruitful in that regard.

Chapters Five and Six both discuss translations of Molière, an author who
has been translated into Scots so often and with such popularity that Noël
Peacock, in the opening to Chapter Five, refers to "the MacMoliere
Industry". Peacock discusses two of the earliest such translations, by
Robert Kemp, "L'École des Femmes" as "Let Wives Tak Tent" [let wives take
heed] in 1948, and "L'Avare" as "The Laird o' Grippy" [Lord Grasping] in
1955 (Kemp 1983, 1987), taking particular care to note the ways in which
Kemp's Scotticisation of the texts extends beyond the language,
transposing the entire action of the plays to a Scottish setting. For
example, "Molière's unidentified outdoor topography in 'L'École des
Femmes'('la scène est une place de ville') is changed to a house on the
Canongate (a residential district at the foot of the Royal Mile in late
seventeenth century Edinburgh)" (p89). Contrary to the practice of English
translators of Molière, who typically retain the original French names,
Kemp gave the characters all Scottish names, seeking to capture some of
the onomastic word-play of the original. Kemp also made alterations to the
structure of _ L'École des Femmes_ itself, in order to bring it more in
line with Scottish theatrical practice, particularly by enacting on stage
physically expressive moments which in the original occur off-stage,
narrated by characters watching from on-stage. Peacock also discusses at
length Kemp's translation of Molière's verbal humour, which he quotes Kemp
as likening to the dry, sometimes somewhat sinister humour of the Scots,
focusing on Kemp's efforts to render the French humour relevant and
comprehensible to a Scottish audience by cultural transposition. Finally,
he gives an account of both productions' critical reception and their
ongoing influence on later Scottish playwrights and translators.

This is followed, in Chapter Six, by Randall Stevenson's discussion of Liz
Lochhead's translation of _Tartuffe_ (Lochhead 1985). Although Lochhead's
rendering is not explicitly relocated to a Scottish setting, she at least
follows Kemp's example by placing the play into a Scottish cultural
context. Thus Lochhead "quickly establishes a convincingly Scottish accent
for Molière's concern with religious and other forms of hypocrisy ...
Placing Tartuffe among the figures of monstrous religious self-
righteousness who turn up in Robert Burns's 'Holy Willie's Prayer' and at
many other points in Scottish literature both before and since" (p.107),
and, moreover, uses Scotland's long history of sectarian division as a way
of going _beyond_ the meaning of the original. Stevenson shows that in
many ways, Lochhead adjusts and expands on Molière's text in order to
comment upon, and satirise contemporary Scottish society, and that
Lochhead was able to achieve this by appropriating Molière's grounding in
the _commedia dell'arte_ and Roman satire to resonate with the Scottish
theatre's strong traditions of variety, music hall and pantomime. Much
attention is given to the fact that Lochhead, unlike most translators of
Molière into English or Scots, chose to write, like Molière, in rhymed
verse, and Stevenson argues that Lochhead "often exploits greater phonetic
flexibility in a more colloquially based Scots to sustain rhymes
unimaginable in standard English" (p.113). He notes, quoting Hampton
(1984, A Note on the Translation), that the ingenuity of demanded by a
rhyming translation of Molière "cannot avoid drawing attention to itself"
(ibid.), but argues that Lochhead makes a "comic virtue" of this
conspicuous and sometimes convoluted word-play. In general, in contrast to
Holton's practice of using an exotic text to stretch the language,
Stephenson shows how Lochhead uses resources of Scots to stretch her text
beyond Molière's original, adding comic and rhetorical force absent in the
original. Comically charged shifts in register, between the colloquial and
the formal or grandiose are made all the more conspicuous by an
accompanying change in variety, between Scots and English, inconspicuous
lines of the original are changed into typically Scottish laconic
wisecracks - "La campagne à present n'est pas beaucoup fleurie" [Not many
flowers out in the country, are there?] becomes "How was the country?
Green and stuff?" (quoted p.111) and a much broader employment of
colloquialisms than is found in the original is used to great rhetorical
effect, albeit at the expense of faithfulness.

Chapters Seven and Eight both take up translations by that most prolific
of Scottish polyglots, Edwin Morgan. The first of these, discussed by
David Kinloch, is his version of Rostand's _Cyrano de Bergerac_, first
performed in 1992. Kinloch begins by comparing the heroic energy and
eclecticism, the intertwining of humour and pathos of Rostand's play with
Morgan's original poetry, with the purpose of showing the naturalness of
Morgan's choice of text. Quoting Woollen, in his introduction to his
edition of the original play, as defining it as a "_panaché_, i.e. a
mixture, of constituent generic features, be they neo-Romantic, neo-
Classical, baroque or burlesque" (p.126, Woollen 1994, p. xvii), Kinloch
devotes care over much of the rest of the chapter to demonstrating the how
Morgan's Scots Cyrano matches and on occasion surpasses the multi-voiced
virtuosity of Rostand's French, "where other translators simply give up"
(p.127), without descending into virtuosity merely for it's own sake
("Morgan birls [spins] through a kaleidoscope of styles and registers
because he understands that, ultimately, this energy ... gives access to
the dark and famished soul of a hero who knows and is at once proud and
unhappy that he is different." ibid.), and augments this effect by
incorporating into a largely faithful translation appropriate but
conspicuously contemporary and/or local innovations. Kinloch also examines
points at which Morgan opens up an interpretation of the play in the light
of the historical Cyrano's homosexuality, quoting Morgan's introduction as
claiming it to be "scarcely but perhaps just audible in the play itself"
(p.139, quoting Morgan 1992, p. x). Particular attention is paid to to act
2, scene X, in which Cyrano and Christian agree to collaborate in the
wooing of Roxane, to be fused together into her composite perfect lover -
but Morgan's language of union with Christian is much more physical and
more intimate, it is claimed, than Rostand's. Kinloch claims Morgan
performs another adjustment of the text's possible interpretation in act 3
scene VII, where Cyrano stands in the shadows wooing Roxane with his own
voice but in Christian's name, and hesitates while confessing his
love: "In Rostand, one is sure Cyrano's hesitation is that of a poet
searching for the _mot juste_ ... The Scots version is ... movingly - less
assured ... gobsmacked by a sudden vision of the pitiful, wonderful irony
of his situation." (p. 142)

This is followed by Stephen Mulrine's chapter on Morgan's translations of
Mayakovsky (Morgan 1972). Mulrine mostly focuses on how Morgan deals with
the Russian language's rich inflectional system and extensive use of
affixes, which makes any translation longer "in basic word-count terms"
(p.148) than its Russian exemplar. Mulrine argues that in most cases,
Morgan's expansion on the original constitutes a "tendency to work up
Mayakovsky's outline sketch into a full colour portrait," outdoing the
word-plays, lexical innovations and rhetorical flourishes present in the
original, adding them where absent and refining out Mayakovsky's
occasional doggerel rhymes and weak metres. Mulrine further speculates
that the more "direct and concrete" imagery of Morgan's translations is a
direct consequence of some particular quality of Scots itself, giving
Mayakovsky's sometimes hectoring, didactic style the ring of "folk-wisdom,
and not ideology" (p. 167).

Chapters Nine and Ten both deal with translations by Robert Garioch. In
Chapter Nine Graham Tulloch looks at Garioch's translations of two Latin
tragedies by the sixteenth-century Scottish author, George Buchanan,
_Iephthes_ and _Baptistes_ (Sutherland 1959). Tulloch examines
philological evidence for the sources of Garioch's translation, assessing
it's independence from the English translations of Brown (1906) and
Mitchell (1903, 1904) and also the sources of Garioch's "Synthetic Scots"
[a twentieth-century literary variety of Scots, based around a lowland
standard but consciously and conspicuously augmented by items of
vocabulary from archaic sources and other dialects - mostly sourced from
Jamieson (1879-82), which seem to come in part from Garioch's reading of
other poets using Synthetic Scots, in particular Hugh MacDiarmid, but also
from working directly from Jamieson, in particular looking for Latinate
formal and technical vocabulary from Middle Scots (1450-1700), prior to
the loss of the higher registers. Tulloch describes the presence of Middle
Scots vocabulary which was in fact also part of the vocabulary of English
of the same period, but which has become obsolete in both, as being part
of a project of writing in Scots as if its development had never been
interrupted. A small number of neologisms are also noted, as is
considerable borrowing from English of more recent coinage, which is
common practice in spoken Scots, but odd in Synthetic Scots, which is
generally adopted precisely in order to avoid such borrowings. Tulloch
briefly compares Buchanan's frequent echoes of classical authors with
Garioch's allusions to Burns, Shakespeare and the Authorized Version of
the Bible, and notes also his use of historical allusions. Finally he
praises Garioch for having restored to Scots literature a register which
has long been absent; that of formal tragedy.

Chapter Ten, by Christopher Whyte, examines Garioch's translations of 120
sonnets by Giuseppe Belli (Belli1965, 1984, Garioch 1983, p215-80). The
first part of the chapter consists of a long series of prefatory remarks,
beginning with three and a half pages on the likeness between original
poetic composition and translation, in which Valéry, Akhmatova and her
disciple Brodsky are discussed, but Garioch is not. This is followed by
some historical and biographical background on Belli, particularly
focusing on his contradictory attitude towards the low-
register "romanesco" dialect of Italian, in which the sonnets in question
were written. Whyte argues that Garioch was drawn to translation as a way
of escaping some of the preconceptions which readers and critics often
take to Scots poetry, in particular the notion that "dialect poetry"
must "record" or "transcribe" things of the sort that people would
actually say. Both the artificiality of the sonnet form and the act of
translation itself offer Garioch a way out of that restriction. He goes on
to present a rather tenuous argument to the effect that being "a
compilation from pre-existing work, making no pretence to originality",
Garioch's translations are "a quintessentially post-modern deconstruction
of received ideas about the literary text" (p.193).

This, however, is based on the assumption the collection of translations
constitutes a single, whole literary text - an assumption which is in fact
undermined by all of Whyte's arguments for its status as a deconstruction
of the literary text. The second part of the chapter consists of close
readings of several of the translated sonnets themselves, focused on
Garioch's technical, and in particular, metrical virtuosity. It is noted,
for instance, that in sonnet 1479 "Ritual Questions", which records a
conversation in which two men briefly greet one another, mention the
weather, enquire as to one another's health and family's health, and part,
although Garioch follows the metre and rhyme of the original faithfully,
he puts it to slightly different use, since the technical exactness of the
poem is masked by numerous enjambments, absent from the original. Whyte
describes how Garioch worked with the help of English line-for-line cribs,
furnished by three collaborators, but had enough Italian to be able to
restore details found in the original and omitted from the cribs, a point
illustrated in his analysis of sonnet 360, "Wha Gaes By Nicht, Gaes Til
His Daith/Chi va la notte, va a la morte", in which material from the
crib, the Italian and original material of Garioch's own are interwoven.
One particularly interesting close reading in the chapter is that of
sonnet 1677, "The Puir Faimly/La famija poverella", which Whyte considers
to be a rare failure on Garioch's part. Whyte demonstrates the
translation's relative technical weakness, and associates it with the
alienness of the content (the "mixture of tenderness, desperate pity and
absolute destitution") to the Scottish poetic tradition, in which "a
spoken voice in Scots poetry may still carry echoes of the eighteenth
century vernacular revival" (p. 205). Also discussed is Garioch's use of a
low-register idiom to effect comic lowering in sonnets on religious
topics, illustrated by readings of sonnets 811 "The Relicschaw/La mostra
de l'erliquie" and 273 "Judgement Day/Er giorno der giudizzio". Finally,
White considers at a distance the relationship between Garioch's invention
and his eye for Belli's details, concluding, "They are more than a
translation because they are not enjoyed ... primarily as a means of
access to Belli's originals, but become something different while yet
remaining linked, and, in their way, faithful to those."

In Chapter Eleven J. Derrick McLure looks at two translations of
Aristophanes, _The Puddocks_ [frogs] and _The Burdies_, by Douglas Young
(Young 1958, 1959). This chapter is frustrating, owing to the author's
freely admitted inability to read Greek. He begins by outlining the plays'
history of production and notes that some of their critical reception was
coloured by the critics' inability to understand the Scots. He then
puzzles over Young's choice of such obscure and alien material for
translation, concluding that the major deciding factor was the universal
appeal of much of the humour - scatological, slapstick and surreal -
combined with a documented Scottish taste for satire and the grotesque.
McClure devotes much energy to showcasing Young's kaleidoscope of styles,
registers and varieties, and notes that Young claimed that this reflected
a similar polyphony in Aristophanes, but, in contrast to Findlay and
Bowman (Chapter Four), is unable to say whether, how or to what extent
Young's polyphony _translates_ that of Aristophanes, since he lacks Greek.
Aristophanes relies greatly on puns, scatology and bawdry, and McClure
documents Young's approach to each of these, substituting Scots puns
(often, but not always, relying on obscure Scots vocabulary that would be
lost on most audiences) for Greek ones, leaving the toilet humour largely
unaltered but toning down the sexual humour, or excising it altogether
where it refers to paedophilia. The most interesting portion of the
chapter, being the least impaired by McClure's lack of access to the
original text, is that dealing with the transplantation/translation of
cultural elements. "By retaining all the Greek allusions unchanged, he
would ... have rendered ... the plays unintelligible to his audiences.
Conversely, a total Scotticisation would have resulted in a discordant
cultural clash." McClure shows that Young mixes together Scotticised and
Hellenic elements, creating a setting that is Edinburgh and Athens at the
same time - "The denizens of Hades include an Aiakos and a Girzie ... the
Loch Ness Monsteress ... joins with the Gorgons (albeit from Crail) in a
list of terrors..." - though names of places and historical figures tend
to be changed to Scottish ones, for instance changing Theseus to Kenneth
MacAlpin (Scotland's legendary founder-king).

Finally, the Twelfth Chapter, by Peter Graves and Bjarne Thorup Thomson,
explores two collections of Danish ballads by Sir Alexander Gray (Gray
1954, 1958), focusing exclusively on Gray's introductions to the two books
and four of the actual ballads. Their interest in the introductions is as
a way of getting a handle on Gray's decision to translate into Scots, on
the basis of the phylogenetic closeness of the Scots and Danish languages
and the corresponding native traditions of folktale-telling and balladry,
combined with "a late but clear reflex of those Victorian beliefs in
the 'manly' vigour of the languages of the north." (p. 231) They also
question Gray's decision to "transplant" rather than merely translate his
ballads, by placing them in a Scottish setting and "[ironing out] cultural
and generic differences" (p. 235). The first ballad under discussion
is "The Power of the Harp/Harpens Kraft", in which a troll living in a
stream captures a young bride on the way to her wedding, as it also
captured her sisters before her, and her groom, Villemand, subdues the
troll by playing softly to it on a golden harp, rescuing his bride and her
sisters too. They are mostly concerned with Gray's departures from
fidelity to the original, though, unlike many of the authors of preceding
chapters, they do not consider these to improve or enhance the text. They
are critical of Gray's renaming the hero "William", which they consider to
be a poor "'fit' to replace ... the arresting, ambiguous Villemand" (p.
237), and point out a tendency to tidy up and refine the language of the
ballads; "In the main, Gray remains faithful to the artful language of
Danish balladry ... But where he deviates from it, his favoured direction
is towards elaboration, harmonisation and specification, to some extent
moving the target text away from the skeletal and the strange" (p. 239).
Next "Agnete og Havmanden/Agnete and the Merman" is discussed. The authors
first note the overall accuracy and literary quality of the translation,
and that in general, where Gray deviates from his source it is in general
for the sake of rhyme or metre, and quite in the spirit of the original,
but criticise him for his use of narrative tags ("quo' she", "quo' he",
and so forth) in dialogue, as they are whole absent in the Danish, and for
the change of tone effected by Gray's regularisation of the rhythm and
metre; the original is punctuated with irregularities, giving it a quality
that is "much more sedate, harsher in tone, and with a more varied pace"
compared to the translation, which moves "at an unvarying trot and, in
spite of it's subject matter ... [gives] it a fairly light-hearted tone."
(p. 245). The third text is "Sir Walter's Daughter/Torbens Datter og
hendes Faderbane", which Graves and Thomsen characterise as a starkly
minimal tale, in which no place, nor any character but the eponymous
Torben is named, and formulaic phrases predominate in the text. They
document the ways in which Gray's translation softens this effect, giving
the action a named location and fleshing out the formulaic phrases.
Finally comes "The Death of Queen Dagmar/Dronning Dagmars Død", an
historical ballad telling of the painful illness and death of Queen
Dagmar, and her husbands desperate journey across Jutland to reach her one
last time. Gray makes a critical error early in his translation by
changing the wise women called upon by Dagmar to ease her pain into "wise
men o' lear and skill (st.2)" [learning] (quoted p. 248), thus introducing
masculinity at the start of the ballad, which in the original does not
occur until much later, when Dagmar's illness is realised to be terminal
and the King is summoned back home. Otherwise, the authors note Gray's
greater fidelity to the original in this case, perhaps related to the
better fit between the more authentic, realistic style of the historical
ballad and Gray's own poetic temperament, noting only one further
exception, which is that when the Queen communicates three requests to the
King from beyond the grave, the threefold repetition of the Danish "Bøn"
[boon] over three stanzas is translated variously as "request", "asking"
and "boon". Graves and Thomson conclude that Gray succeeds in
transplanting his ballads into a native Scottish tradition, but at some
expense; "he has personalised the impersonal; he has fleshed out the
skeletal; he has naturalised the supernatural; he has regularised the
irregular." (p. 250)


In his introduction, Findlay acknowledges that the present
volume, "Although ... conceived independently ... can be seen as
complementary to an earlier volume in the 'Topics in Translation' series,
John Corbett's _Written in the Language of the Scottish Nation: A History
of Literary Translation into Scots_ (1999)" (p.1), a monograph charting
the development of literary translation into Scots over five centuries.
For any reader coming to Findlay without first having read Corbett,
Findlay's short introduction provides an admirably clear and concise
synopsis of the relevant historical context for the following essays,
contrasting two notable peaks in the history of translation into Scots;
the sixteenth century, a period in which Scots spanned the full range of
registers up to and including the literary, scholarly and courtly, and
translation was driven by a "Renaissance and Europe-wide mood of
translating classics into national vernaculars as both a culturo-patriotic
act of linguistic independence and as a means of making available to a
wider readership the works of classical antiquity," (p.2) and the
twentieth century, in which translation into Scots was shocked back to
life by the internationalist, modernist and revolutionary impetus of Hugh
MacDiarmid and the Scottish Renaissance Movement.

Each contribution to the volume is never less than insightful, and the
cumulative effect of reading them from cover to cover is the emergence of
certain recurrent theoretical themes, particularly the translation of
register, and the response of translators to the challenges presented by
working with a target language excluded from many types of discourse and
subject to considerable erosion of native vocabulary under the influence
of Standard English. In chapter one, Brain Holton writes; "As in any
translation, get the register wrong, and in particular, the subtle
modulations of register that make so much of poetry work - and the whole
piece limps." The role of register is revisited again and again in the
essays, which tends to come into sharp focus in Scots translation, due to
the attrition of many of its registers (those associated with authority
and prestige) since the sixteenth century. Several of the works under
discussion have taken advantage of this feature of Scots, by selecting
source texts written in non-standard, low-register varieties, as in Fo's
Lago Maggiore Italian, Tremblay's "joual" or "montréalais" and Belli's
Romanesco; similarly, Gray's Danish ballad translations exploit a pre-
existing Scots literary register, that of Ballad Scots. In all these
cases, the translators may be argued to have chosen texts that could not
be done justice in Standard English. This is most notable in the case of
Findlay and Bowman's translations of Michel Tremblay, who makes extensive
use not only of low-register speech, but also of contrasts of register. By
contrast, other of the authors discussed have faced the task of expanding
the language into registers not normally available to it, particularly
Brian Holton, in deciding not to revert to Standard English to translate
high-register speech and legal and religious language in his original, and
Robert Garioch in translating George Buchanan's stately, tragic Latin.
Thus these essays are illuminating also for translators and scholars of
translation used to working with standard target languages, as they make
visible and problematise aspects of the task of translation which are, I
believe, always present, but usually invisible, just as original literary
composition always requires decisions to be made with regard to register
and variety, whether covertly or overtly.

My criticisms of the book are few, and should by no means deter any
interested party from its enjoyment. As mentioned above, J. Derrick
McLure's consideration of Young's translations of Aristophanes might have
been far more enlightening had he been found a Hellenist co-author. A
dozen chapters is sufficient for a broadly representative selection of
texts for discussion, but not a comprehensive one, and with that in mind,
it seems that certain authors have been given disproportionate attention;
as a provider of source texts Moliere receives two chapters, and Edwin
Morgan and Robert Garioch two each as translators. There are of course
translations neglected here that I would hope to see in the event of a
second edition, particularly William Laughton Lorimer's _New Testament in
Scots_ (1983), J.K. Annand's _Songs from the Carmina Burana_ (1978) and
John Byrne's version of Gogol's _The Government Inspector_ (Gogol 1998),
as well as perhaps an editorial epilogue to draw together the common
theoretical strands of the chapters, and an appendical anthology of

_Frae Ither Tongues_ stands as a groundbreaking tribute to the ingenuity
and creativity of the authors behind the modern resurgence in translation
into Scots, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone interested in
modern Scottish literature, the theory and practice of literary
translation, and especially to anyone interested in the role of register
in translation, or literary production more generally.


Annand, J. (trans.) (1978) _Songs from Carmina Burana_. Loanhead:

Belli, G. (1965) _I sonetti_ (ed. M. Lanza, intro. C. Muscetta). Milan:

Belli, G. (1984) _Sonetti_ (ed. P. Gibellini, commentary G. Vigolo).
Milan: Mondadori.

Brown, A. (trans.) (1906) _The Sacred Dramas of George Buchanan_.
Edinburgh: James Thin.

Chen, X., Hou, Z. and Lu, Y. (eds) (1981) _Shuihu Zhuan Huiping Ben_.
Beijing: Beijing University Press.

Corbett, J. (1999) _Written in the Language of the Scottish Nation: A
History of Literary Translation into Scots_. Clevedon: Multilingual

Fo, D (1974) _Mistero Buffo_. Verona: Bertani.

Fo, D. (1988) _Mistero Buffo_ (trans E. Emery). London, Methuen.

Garioch, R. (1973) _Doktor Faust in Rose Street_. Loanhead: MacDonald.

Garioch, R. (1983) Complete Poetical Works (ed. R. Fulton). Edinburgh:

Gogol, N., (1998) _The Government Inspector_ (trans. J. Byrne). Oberon:

Gray, A. (trans.) (1954) _Four and Forty: A Selection of Danish Ballads
Presented in Scots_. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Gray, A. (trans.) (1958) _Historical Ballads of Denmark_. Edinburgh:
Edinburgh University Press.

Hampton, C. (trans) (1984) _Molière's Tartuffe or The Impostor_. London:
Faber and Faber.

Holton, B. (trans) (1981) _Men o the Mossflow_ [Chapter 1, part 1].
_Cencrastus_ 7, 2-5.

Holton, B. (trans) (1982) _Men o the Mossflow_ [Chapter 1, part 2].
_Cencrastus_ 8, 32-5.

Holton, B. (trans) (1984) _Men o the Mossflow_ [Chapter 2]. _Cencrastus_
16, 28-30

Holton, B. (trans) (1986) _Men o the Mossflow_ [Chapter 3]. _Edinburgh
Review_ 74, 18-30.

Holton, B. (trans) (1987) _Men o the Mossflow_ [Chapter 4]. _Edinburgh
Review_ 76, 73-89.

Holton, B. (trans) (1993) _Men o the Mossflow_ [Chapter 5]. _Edinburgh
Review_ 89, 97-111.

Jamieson, J. (1879-82) _An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish
Language to Which is Prefixed a Dissertation on the Origin of the Scottish
Language_ (4 vols). Paisley: Gardner.

Kemp, R. (trans) (1983) _Let Wives Tak Tent_. Glasgow: Brown, Son and

Kemp, R. (trans) (1987) _The Laird o' Grippy_. Glasgow: Brown, Son and

Lochhead, L. (trans) (1985) _Tartuffe: A Translation into Scots from the
Original by Molière_. Glasgow: Third Eye Centre/Polygon.

Lorimer, W. (trans) (1983) _New Testament in Scots_. Edinburgh: Published
for the trustees of the W.L. Lorimer Memorial Trust Fund by Southside
(Publishers) Ltd.

MacGilleathain, I [John MacLean] (trans) (1976) _Odusseia Homair_.
Glasgow: Gairm.

Mitchell, A. (trans) (1903) _Jephthah: A Drama (Translated from the Latin
of George Buchanan)_. Paisley: Gardner.

Mitchell, A. (trans) (1904) _John the Baptist: A Drama (Translated from
the Latin of George Buchanan)_. Paisley: Gardner.

Morgan, E. (trans.) (1972) _Wi the Haill Voice: 25 Poems by Vladimir
Mayakovsky Translated into Scots by Edwin Morgan_. South Hinksey, Oxford:

Morgan, E. (trans.) (1992) _Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac: a new
verse translation_. Manchester: Carcanet.

Neill, W. (1992) _Tales Frae the Odyssey o Homer Owreset intil Scots_.
Edinburgh: Saltire Society.

Sutherland, R. [Robert Garioch] (1959) _Jephthah and The Baptist_.
Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.

Tremblay, M. (1988) _The Guid Sisters_ (trans M. Bowman and B. Findlay).
Toronto: Exile Editions.

Tremblay, M. (1990) _La Maison Suspendue_. Ottawa: Lémeac.

Tremblay, M. (1993) _Les Belles Soeurs_. Ottawa: Lémeac.

Tremblay, M. (1996) _Messe solemnelle pour une pleine lune d'été_. Ottawa:

Tremblay, M. (1998) _Encore une fois, si vous permettez_. Ottawa: Lémeac.

Tremblay, M. (2000) _Solemn Mass for a Full Moon in Summer_ (trans M.
Bowman and B. Findlay). London: Nick Hern.

Woollen, G. (ed.) (1994) _Cyrano de Bergerac, by Edmond Rostand_. Bristol:
Bristol Classical Press.

Young, D. (trans.) (1958) _The Puddocks: A Verse Play in Scots from the
Greek of Aristophanes_. Tayport: The author.

Young, D. (trans.) (1959) _The Burdies: A Comedy in Scots Verse from the
Greek of Aristophanes_. Tayport: The author.


Dave Cochran wes learnt Scots as a wee bairn rinnin clorty-kneed roon his
hame toon ae Dumbarton, but has lingered around the higher education
system for so long he can no longer speak it without sounding a trifle
awkward. His first degree, from the University of St. Andrews in 1999, was
in English, with a considerable emphasis on Scottish literature. After a
hiatus in his studies, he enrolled at the University of Glasgow to study
papers in English Language, in order to prepare him for the transition to
the postgraduate study of Linguistics. He is now studying towards an MSc
in Developmental Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, and his
principal research interests are Stochastic Tree-Substitution Grammars,
the computational modelling of diachronic syntax and interdisciplinary
approaches to Indo-European studies.

Format: Hardback
ISBN: 1853597007
ISBN-13: N/A
Pages: 272
Prices: U.S. $ 79.95